Monthly Archives: September 2020

An Interest in international political economy

By Prof. Mark Philp (University of Warwick) I’m not sure how I got involved in this – Peter [Hill] is almost certainly to blame. I was reasonably familiar with much of the literature on international political economy up until about 2005, when I was still teaching a lot of political and historical sociology. If I had been asked about my views on that literature then, I would have been critical. On the one hand, it was not clear to me that mainstream economists actually understood how things worked in reality, despite their impeccable models. On the other, I felt that their critics on the left tended to be hide-bound by a Marxist view that we know what the essential characteristics and end-game of capitalism are and we just need to understand what has enabled it to postpone that destiny. My sense was that neither group did much to advance our understanding of power, which was too often understood reductively in terms of control of capital. More importantly, both groups had difficulties in grasping the complexities of exchange, tending to reduce it either to an idealized, frictionless transaction of equivalence, or to outright exploitation. When I moved to a History department […]

Political Economy and Culture in Global History blog series – introduction

By Dr. Peter Hill (Northumbria University) This post introduces a series of short pieces on the overarching theme of ‘Political Economy and Culture in Global History’, which will appear over the following weeks on the Past & Present blog. The pieces derive from a collective discussion project of the same name, convened by Peter Hill (Northumbria University), and Andrew Edwards and Juan Neves-Sarriegui (both at the University of Oxford). This project has run over the past two years, supported by the Past & Present Foundation and our respective institutions. It brought together a range of scholars broadly interested in asking ‘big questions’ in world history – mainly early-career historians, but with a leavening of more senior academics and of scholars working in other disciplines, including anthropology, geography, literature, and economics. The original stimulus for the project was a certain discontent with aspects of recent ‘global history’ – notably its apparent difficulties in dealing with questions of power and structure – as well as a reluctance to abandon the project entirely for smaller-scaled histories. We set out, instead, to revisit an earlier set of debates of the 1960s to the 1980s, about ‘transitions’ and ‘articulations’ between modes of production, dependency, and world-systems. […]

Stefan Hanß Interviews Forthcoming Past & Present Author Sujit Sivasundaram

by the Past & Present editorial team Ahead of the publication of “The Human, the Animal and the Pre-History of Covid-19” Prof. Sujit Sivasundaram (Gonville and Caius, Cambridge) exploration of the historical roots of the current pandemic crisis Dr. Stefan Hanß (Manchester) had interviewed him about the background to his work. The interview is avaible via the University of Manchester website. The interview is introduced in the following terms: “Sujit Sivasundaram is Professor of World History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. His work on the eighteenth-century Indian and Pacific Oceans is of breathtaking innovativeness and brings global history and the history of empires into a conversation with the history of science, environmental history, and the history of race and ethnicity. Most recently, Sujit Sivasundaram published a thought-provoking Past & Present article on the history of interspecies encounters between pangolins and humans, which also discusses the future of historical research in light of the current pandemic. In this interview, Sujit Sivasundaram took the time to respond to a few follow-up questions on the role of microscopic records in future research on interspecies histories. Early modern colonial encounters dynamised human-animal and animal-animal encounters. You co-edited a fascinating special […]